It was a wonderful night for it. That is- dying. It was the kind of night that begged to be left alone, and yet would not be laid to rest.
The street was more quiet than the others- that was why Simon had chosen to walk down it. He wasn’t the kind of man to want to cause a fuss. He’d just fancied a bit of peace and quiet, away from all the screaming brats dressed as witches and demons, dragging their parents in chains up and down the streets to laden themselves with yet more spoils. Sweets, chocolates, lollies; Simon had never liked them. He was a dentist.
Yes, was. He felt there should be a certain emphasis placed upon that word in particular, as he held his hand close to the pulsating wound on his neck and blood leaked out from beneath his fingers like hot cocoa. He was a doctor; he knew that humans don’t last longer than a couple of minutes with a wound like that on their neck.
When he’d briefly joined the army as a younger man (admittedly, he was a second-rate doctor and rarely went onto the field), he’d thought a lot about what could happen- what would be his last thoughts? Would he feel cold? Should he spend the majority of his time on the lines wearing a woolly sweater, just in case? He didn’t want to die cold.
Yet, it was cold. A cold October evening, when he would most have liked not to have been lying in the middle of a quiet road, bleeding his life out onto the asphalt and not having much thought to give about it, apart from a quick Oh, bugger. Before everything went black and his brain ceased to function and his lungs gasped out their last feeble puff of air.
Simon was also an atheist. He reminded himself of this when he died and woke up. He was still much too bloody cold, and found that this was because he was lying on a cold metal table, in what looked to be a morgue.
There was a whimper and a thud as he sat up, and when he looked at the source of the noise, saw the local coroner toppled over, with one hand half-clad in a rubber glove and the other glove coming to flutter peacefully over his face.
Simon was surprised by how little he seemed to care about the man’s welfare, though he supposed that after dying he was entitled to at least a little bit of self-involvement. Oh yes, he was dead; wasn’t he? While he had woken up before, many times in fact in his adult life; he was unfamiliar as to what one is to do after one has awoken from death. Are you supposed to roll over and go back to sleep? How are you to know if you’ve awoken in the afterlife or not? There was no warmth or bright light when he’d died that Simon could remember. It was just a fade-to-black scenario that almost reminded him of being kicked in the knackers by the bully in primary school…
What was that sweet smell?
Simon had never smelled anything so clearly, so sublime, delicious and divine that only god himself could have cooked it… His sense of smell and desire had never been strong enough to allow him to do so in life, but he followed his nose to the source of the smell- a small pan, at the end of another occupied slab of metal…
His wide glassy eyes peered into the bowl and, had his stomach been in working order, the bile would have risen in his throat.
As it was, he looked at the fresh, juicy human brain in the pan and licked his lips. Just a taste… Just a tiny taste, it couldn’t hurt, could it?
Without his permission, his hand had darted out and touched the pale mound of flesh before him, his fingers startled at the slick coolness as his fingers brought themselves back up to his lips and they parted. He groaned in pleasure at the flavour that greeted him, yet was also deeply, deeply disgusted.
He imagined what his mother would say if she could see him now. Honestly Simon, what kind of example are you setting for your younger brother? Simon! Get that brain out of your mouth!
The bowl was empty and Simon belched as he walked away from it, his own brain in overdrive as his fingers felt the wound at his neck. Angels don’t have wounds. Humans don’t have mortal wounds and still walk around. When he looked at his hand that had touched at his wound, there was no blood on his fingers. The cogs in his brain spun a tale that Simon would have had to live to believe- which ironically, in death, he was.
His stomach growled, hungry for more as he grunted and shoved the morgue doors open weakly. Yes… His motor function was already beginning to fail… But the hunger! The hunger burned through to the forefront of what was left of Simon’s mind as he groaned angrily at the stairs that separated him from escape and he began to waddle up them.
Miraculously, nobody saw him as he stumbled out of the hospital and into the daylight. It was a good while later, in the park, when someone saw him. A female jogger, she stopped and put her hand on his shoulder. ‘Hey, you don’t look so good.’ He was spread-eagle in the middle of the grass. ‘Do you need me to call an ambulance?’
Simon looked at her and finally realised what he was… What he needed.
‘Braaaaiiiiinnnnsssss…’ He groaned as he grabbed her by the neck.